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Author Topic: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.  (Read 2671 times)

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Offline (Evan)

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Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« on: February 06, 2015, 01:46:01 PM »
Hey everyone. I'm currently in rehearsals for a musical production featuring a large symphony orchestra. The orchestra is unmiked, but the vocals are miked and running through two speakers on either side of the proscenium.

I'd like to record these rehearsals from the (empty) audience before the show opens. The theatre seats around 800 and has very good acoustics.

I have a pair of Oktava MK-012's with a set of cardiod and omni caps. I'm going to try both ORTF with the cards, and a spaced pair with the omnis.

How far apart should I place the spaced pair? I can pretty much place the stands anywhere in the theatre that I choose. There won't be any audience noise, so I'm thinking the spaced pair will provide the best results?

Thanks

Offline dyneq

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2015, 05:02:15 PM »
Would it be possible to record the vocals seperately from the mixer? If so, you could place the mics in the optimal location to record the unamplified orchestra and then combine the two recordings?

Offline (Evan)

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2015, 05:04:02 PM »
I planned on it, but it may not may not be possible. If the sound guy OK's it, then yes. So I guess I'd like recommendations for both setups?

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2015, 05:19:03 PM »
I think that the position you would put your mics relative to the orchestra would not the spot where you'd record vocals from the PA.

The usual orchestral recording spot is just a few feet behind the conductor with the mics say 12' over his head aimed at the orchestra.   

The better solution would be to set up your mics to capture the orchestra while taking a split of the vocals off the soundboard if you can record 4 channels.  Failing that, then the next option would be to set your mics for the orchestra and have another set of mics aimed at the PA speakers.  Still 4 channels to record and 4 mics, I think, if you can't get a split off the soundboard. 

Someone else may have a better approach. 




Offline (Evan)

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2015, 05:21:19 PM »
I should also add that the orchestra is in the pit in front of the stage, and I can not place my microphones down there.

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 06:08:02 PM »
That could work to your advantage if you can put a mic stand near the edge of the pit to capture the orchestra.  And if your mics are close enough to the stage, you will also pick up some of the dialogue, but you will get your best vocal capture if you can get a feed out of the soundboard if all the actors are mic'd.  If not, it's going to be harder.   

Offline (Evan)

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2015, 06:19:30 PM »
For now, lets just say I will be attempting to record both the vocals and orchestra with one pair of mics and no soundboard feed. How should I do it?

Offline dyneq

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2015, 06:30:48 PM »
For now, lets just say I will be attempting to record both the vocals and orchestra with one pair of mics and no soundboard feed. How should I do it?

Use your ears to find the best location/caps/pattern during rehearsal. Put your mics on a stand and monitor the sound with some good noise-isolating headphones.

As far as patterns, since there won't be an audience making noise, you could try AB Omni. Experiment with different spacings and heights until you get a nice balance.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2015, 07:08:45 PM »
Fun one!  Great advice so far. 

If you can record three, four, five or six separate channels instead of just two, here are a few suggestions of the top of my head-

Start with an ORTF pair of cardioids, or a not-overly-wide spaced pair of omnis (say 2-3' max) at the front edge of the pit, facing down into it (basically directly behind the typical conductor's position in the pit).  They probably don't need to be elevated very high above the pit edge.

Get a feed from the board with the vocals if you can.  Recording one channel of that is enough, the vocals won't be mixed in stereo (but sound effects sent through the PA might be, and if so recording that in stereo is better).  That's 3 channels.

If you can't get the board feed, but can record 3 or 4 channels, use the omnis at the front edge of the pit/stage, but very widely spaced, about the same width as the PA speakers and on-axis and pointed directly at them, so they'll get clear vocals from the PA.  From this position of the omnis will work well for the PA vocals and for on-stage sound, and the wide omnis will likely mix well nicely with the centrally placed ORTF cardioid pair (4 channels), or a single center cardioid (3 channels).  In addition to mic'ing the PA for vocals (and effects?), the omnis in that position should provide better orchestra coverage, an increased sense of width and heft to the orchestra, and some nice room ambiance.

If you have 4 recording channels and can get the board feed, you might record one channel of that, the ORTF pair, and use the 4th channel for a single omni, placed either out in the seats a row or two back for good room ambiance and orchestra bottom end heft. Alternately you could place the single omni on stage in the center at the back edge of the pit, to record more of the on-stage action sound.  In that position the omni can be mounted very low to the stage, or even directly on it (cushioned with foam padding or a towel or something).

If you can record 5 or 6 channels, and can get the vocal (& effects) board feed, I'd move the omnis inwards somewhat from the super-wide spacing mentioned above, maybe halfway towards the center instead of at the far edges of the pit, and point them down into it.  Keep them relatively widely spaced though, at like a minimum of 5 or 6 feet from the central ORTF pair, basically at the 1/4 and 3/4 points across the front of the pit with the ORTF pair in the center.

These option will give you a lot of control over the resulting mix afterwards.

Use your ears to find the best location/caps/pattern during rehearsal. Put your mics on a stand and monitor the sound with some good noise-isolating headphones.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2015, 10:26:42 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline (Evan)

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2015, 07:40:54 PM »
If you have 4 recording channels and can get the board feed, you might record one channel of that, the ORTF pair, and use the 4th channel for a single omni, placed either out in the seats a row or two back for good room ambiance and orchestra bottom end heft.

Wow, some great ideas. Thanks a lot.

I think the option I quoted would be my best bet. I'm an actor in the show and am onstage for a great majority of it, so I really don't have the luxury of sitting down and listening to the levels and getting positioning just right. These recordings are just for my own personal enjoyment anyways. I also am worried that having mic stands all over the place might get in the way of some of the production crew. I think I can definitely handle ORTF in front of the pit, and a single omni a few rows back. Just gotta make sure I can get that board feed...


Would there be any benefit to having two omni's in the audience instead of one? If so, what would you recommend as far as spacing? 20' would be about as far as I could go.

Thanks again!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2015, 07:56:54 PM by (Evan) »

Offline voltronic

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2015, 08:37:01 PM »
Gutbucket gave you the must comprehensive list of options, but I wanted to chime in and say that I had success in the past with just a 2 channel board feed.  I was the PA engineer for a bunch of school musicals so I just recorded a stereo subgroup out of my full mix.  House mics weren't an option because they would have been in audience sight lines but i never thought they were needed, given that I was already grabbing all the wireless lavs, area mics, and a couple spots on the orchestra.  All I had for recording back then was either a Marantz CD recorder or a PCM-D50 but the results were quite good considering the limitations.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 07:27:34 PM by voltronic »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2015, 10:38:28 PM »
If the orchestra is mic'd and the board feed has pretty much everything in it and is well balanced, that may be all you need.  Certainly simplest.  If that's the case and you have 4 channels, you might put the omnis out in the audience and you can add as much hall sound as you like later if it helps (maybe none).  20' apart is plenty for that, less is okay too, 6' is fine.

But if the orchestra is unmiked, I doubt you'll be happy with just the board feed.

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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 11:08:13 PM »
Much depends on whether the orchestra is micd and what levels are run through the board.  The orchestra is usually loud enough that it is not micd.  Tough situation for OP to accurately set his levels, too, being on stage himself.  Got anybody to handle the recording for you?

Offline (Evan)

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2015, 01:42:05 AM »
I stated in my original post that the orchestra is unmiked.

Offline aaronji

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Re: Recording musical theatre rehearsals in hall from audience.
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2015, 03:52:48 PM »
Put a stereo pair where the guy who is adjusting the levels of the PA is located. He is presumably sitting out there setting things so that the PA and orchestra are in balance to his ears...

 

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